Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Book Review

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

I've read this before. Years and years ago. It was either late in high school or very early in college.

It was not an assignment.

I had heard others discussing it. It already had a semi-cult-like following.

I wanted to know what I was missing out on.

So I read it.

And I didn't really get what the fuss was all about. So much so, that this many years later, I couldn't remember what the story was about.

All I could remember was 42 and the infamous towel and being invisible by shutting one's eyes.

That's not much to go on. That's not much of an endorsement.

And then I learned that my daughter would be reading this as a school assignment. That meant that it was a perfect time to reread it.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Eating Gluten-Free at Mary's Pizza Shack

Pizzeria Gluten-Free Pizza

I've been making my own gluten-free pizza for years. I even made my own (glutenated) pizza for years before needing to be gluten-free.

Gluten-free pizza is not new to me.

Some restaurants have started offering gluten-free pizzas. But only in the last couple of years.

Uno's Chicago Grill and BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse immediately come to mind.

But it has taken its sweet time getting to honest pizzerias.

Here is a home-town, honest to goodness pizzeria that serves gluten-free pizza.

And not just serves it. Makes it safely. Serves it safely.

This is real pizza, made by a real pizzeria, that just happens to be gluten-free.

Hurray! Real pizza! Real pizza, gluten-free!

Mary's Pizza Shack on Urbanspoon

Mary's Pizza Shack

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Lentil Chips?

I know what lentils are. I eat lentils occasionally.

But lentil chips?

This is something I have never seen before now.

Rice chips. Bean chips. But lentil chips?

Sure, I guess.

I immediately saw that these are gluten free. And that's when I knew I had to try them.

But I had no idea what to expect.

That picture certainly doesn't look anything like the lentils I am familiar with. But it was enticing enough.

Sounded like it was time to try something new.

Plentils, Margherita Pizza Flavor

Saturday, October 27, 2012

To Kill A Mockingbird

Book Review

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

I know I have read this book before. It's a classic.

But I don't remember if I had to read it as a school assignment or not. One would imagine so. Isn't every American teenager required to read this book at some point?

Well, I hope so. I remember that I loved this book.

Never mind that I couldn't remember what actually happened in this book.

I seem to remember something about the movie. That was a great movie too.

But what happened? I couldn't have told you.

And then I found out that my daughter would be reading this later this year as a school assignment.

Ah ha. That's my cue to get reading. And if I can't remember what happens, but I can remember that it is a great book?

Well... like I said, it's time to get reading.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Gluten-Free and Vegan at Great Sage

Vegan Restaurant?

Vegan? Me? Me eat vegan?

Well, I'm not opposed to it, but I am most certainly an omnivore nisi glutine (eat everything except gluten).

I don't find myself eating vegan very often. There are some meats I like very much. There are some meats I won't touch. I eat a fair bit of dairy and I like it.

I was raised on a small farm, for crying out loud.

I've always assumed that I would never become vegan.

I'm not particularly interested in trying meat substitutes. I'm perfectly fine eating real crab and real chicken. I don't want the vegan substitutes. The vegan substitutes of these hold no allure for me.

But eat vegan once in awhile?


Especially when the vegan restaurant provides gluten-free options for many of their standard menu items, all of which are vegan and organic.

I'm all for organic.

I'm all for good food... even if sometimes it is vegan.

Great Sage on Urbanspoon

Great Sage

Monday, October 15, 2012

Gluten-Free Grasshopper Pielettes and Glutino Gluten-Free Chocolate Vanilla Creme Dream Cookies

Not Pies, but Pielettes

I've been meaning to make a Grasshopper pie for months. But these months have been busy, and there wasn't quite the right time for a pie.

Then fall arrived and suddenly it seemed late in the year. But, I decided, not too late.

We needed a dessert to bring to a picnic. Of course I'm going to bring something that is gluten-free. That's just what I do.

And, would you believe, there are now a few people who expect me to do this. They, too, are gluten-free.

I looked for recipes for grasshopper pie. Of course none of them were gluten-free. No problem. I know how to make the necessary adjustments.

In any case, all the grasshopper pie recipes I found in the house contained alcohol. Creme de methe and creme de cacao, to be precise.

And none of these recipes call for baking the pie.

That means the alcohol will not be cooked off.

Now, we were supposed to be bringing a dessert to a picnic with lots of children in attendance. I would never presume to serve all those children a dessert with a significant quantity of alcohol.

I needed to find an alcohol-free recipe for grasshopper pie. I had to resort to the internet.

But I didn't end up using any one particular recipe. I pieced together bits from a couple of different recipes. Therefore, I will now claim this as my own gluten-free, (almost) alcohol-free grasshopper pie recipe.

Except we didn't want to take a pie.

Serving a pie at a picnic is no picnic. It doesn't serve easily. So, I also decided that I would make mini pies or pielettes.

Gluten-Free, almost Alcohol-Free, Grasshopper Pielettes

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Shoemaker's Wife

Book Review

The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani.

I first saw this title on a list at the library.

I had never read anything by this author. I had never heard of this author.

Just when I start to feel smug and start to think I know something, I get smacked back down to earth.

This author is not new. This author has been around for awhile. This author has published many things.

Where have I been???

Busy reading other things, I guess.

Well, since I am trying to crawl out of my cave, I decided I would brave a new-to-me author again.

I had no idea what I was getting into.

I had no idea of the author's style. I had no idea of the author's other works. I had no idea what was in store for me.

A blank slate again.

It's pretty exciting to be a blank slate, and then find that you can't put the book down!

The Shoemaker's Wife

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Beanfields Bean and Rice Chips

Chips are Chips, Right?

Chips are usually categorized by their composition. Potato chips. Tortilla chips. Corn chips.

Something tells me that we will never see wide adoption of "bean chips." Just a gut feeling.

Yet, since going gluten-free and looking for gluten-free products, I have seen more and more bean chips available.

Now, why would this be correlated with me looking for gluten-free products?

I have no idea. There is no good reason for these two occurrences to be correlated.

Yet, I can't ever remember seeing bean chips on shelves ten years ago. Or even five years ago.

Maybe it it is just their time to come on stage?

I don't know, but when I see products that announce their gluten-free-ness, I am willing to try them.

Beanfields Bean & Rice Chips, Pico de Gallo flavor

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cafe Claude

French Food in The City

Which city? San Francisco!

San Francisco is a fabulous city for so many reasons, and food is just one of them.

I was traveling recently when I was invited by a colleague to try his favorite French restaurant.

Not just his favorite French restaurant in The City. His favorite French restaurant.

How could I not go?

How could I not go without checking to see if I would be able to eat gluten-free and safely there?

Of course I had to check. So, I pulled up their web site.

No gluten-free menu, but several items on their regular menu that looked to be safe.

But then I saw that their dessert menu has crème brûlée.

I love crème brûlée!

Normally, crème brûlée is gluten-free, but I wasn't about to leave things to chance. I called them.

Yes, their crème brûlée is gluten-free. Just like it is supposed to be.

Favorite French restaurant, here we come!
Cafe Claude on Urbanspoon

Café Claude

Monday, September 24, 2012

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Book Review

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.

This book was introduced to me by my husband. By my husband checking it out. Who checked it out and started reading it.

Who started reading it, but didn't finish it.

Not a stellar endorsement, if you ask me.

But an introduction it was.

And then I mentioned the book to some friends at work. And they endorsed it.

They gave it a strong, positive endorsement.

That was good enough for me.

I knew only that it was dark and about a circus. That's all, really. But I had just finished a book about a circus. I didn't really know what to expect from Bradbury's circus, but I didn't want to read the two books too close together in time.

So I read other things. And then, finally, I couldn't find anything else I wanted.

Time to get it.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Gluten-Free at Tino's Italian Bistro

Gluten-Free Take-Out

How many times have you found yourself wanting to just call ahead to some food joint and get some take-out?

On the way to a game? In between errands? In the middle of a road trip?

Have you had any success getting safe, gluten-free take-out?

I have found it quite difficult. I usually pack something with me and don't even think about trying grab something on the way anywhere.

But sometimes...

Sometimes you need just the right take-out, so that you don't have to cook.

Like to take to an outdoor performance of Shakespeare?

You bet. I wanted something good, something safe, and something we didn't have to cook ourselves.

Tino's Italian Bistro on UrbanspoonEnter Tino's Italian Bistro. It was on the way, looked good, and it has a gluten-free menu!

Tino's Italian Bistro

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Think Thin Gluten-Free Protein Bars

Are Protein Bars Food?

There was time in my life when I used protein bars as food.

That was years ago and years before I had to become gluten-free.

That was a sad time.

It was a sad time, because taste and texture and pleasure were missing from that "food." Those protein bars were awful. Barely tolerable. Barely edible.

Why waste so much precious life-time on "barely tolerable"?

I came to learn that protein bars have a purpose, but it is not as a straight up "food."

There are just too many other delicious and nutritious and enjoyable foods out there to use protein bars as part of my regular diet.

But gluten-free protein bars do have a purpose. A very special purpose in the life of this now-gluten-free eater.

They are transportable, packable, life savers.

Truly life savers.

You can try traveling a significant distance to unfamiliar territories without one of these on you. You might get lucky.

Or you can use your luck in a different way.

You might end up thanking your lucky stars that you had a gluten-free protein bar in your bag.

I sure did!

Think Thin Protein and Crunch Bars

Monday, September 3, 2012

The House I Loved

Book Review

The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay.

I have been away from the library lately. Not by choice. But away nonetheless.

Last weekend, I finally got to go back.

And I stopped off at the large print section, to see if there was anything interesting to pick up.

And I needed something to read on the treadmill.

Sometimes it is good to have been away for awhile.

This book was new to the shelf and new to me. But not the author.

This is the same author that wrote Sarah's Key. I enjoyed that book more than a year ago, so I decided to give this one a try.

And it was an added bonus that it was available in large print, just at the time that I needed a large print book.

Some things are meant to happen.

The House I Loved

Friday, August 31, 2012

Gluten-Free Calzones

Calzones or Pizza?

I've made gluten-free pizza several times. Okay... more than "several" times.

And I even have a favorite gluten-free pizza dough recipe.

But pizza is pizza.

My daughter likes to watch cooking shows. And cooking shows don't often show pizzas being made.

But apparently she watched calzones being made.

"How about calzones? Can we make them?" she asks me.

Of course we can!

Gluten-Free Calzones

Monday, August 27, 2012


Book Review

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien.

Here is another young adult offering.

And another young adult book my daughter has read recently. And she liked it.

Actually it is also a young adult book an adult friend read. And she liked it.

That's two rounds of endorsements for this book.

Time to give it a try.

And then I found out that this is the first of a trilogy. Trilogies can be good. If the first one is good, then the others have a chance.

Better get started.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Wolfgang Puck Express at Denver International Airport

Airport Food Choices

How much do you fly? How many airports do you go through in a year?

Have you flown recently?

Do you have trouble finding safe, gluten-free food?

Here is one safe bet for fresh, safe food if you happen to have time to get to the middle of Concourse B in the Denver International Airport.
Wolfgang Puck Express on Urbanspoon

Wolfgang Puck Express at Denver International Airport

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Game

Book Review

The Game by Laurie R. King.

This is the seventh novel in the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series.

And we are off!

Off on another adventure in a far away place: India.

And not without a frame of reference. This story is framed around Kipling's Kim. The title of King's book is a direct reference to and extension of Kipling's "the Great Game."

But I only learned this long after I finished reading.

Of all the classics that are on my reading list, Kim is not, and has never been, on it.


Simply out of naiveté. I don't know anything about Kim.

I was never introduced to it by an English or literature teacher. I never had a single conversation about it with friends. Certainly, my close Indian friend never mentioned it.

I wasn't really aware of it, other than by name.

Until now.

The Game

Monday, August 6, 2012

Eating Gluten-Free on Delta Airlines

Airlines Serve Gluten-Free Meals?

Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don't.

Usually the first criterion is a long flight. If you don't have a flight that is at least four hours long, you have almost no option for a gluten-free meal.

Next, you must have selected an airline that regularly offers special meals.

Third, you need to have selected an airline that offers gluten-free meals.

Fourth, the airline you have selected must load the proper number of gluten-free meals onto your flight.

Fifth, the flight attendants need to correctly distribute the gluten-free meals to those who requested them before departure.

If all of these criteria are met, then you have a pretty good chance at getting a gluten-free meal.

Even with all of that, you still have no guarantees.

Forget asking for a gluten-free snack. I've never seen such option.

Gluten-Free meals on Delta Airlines

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Olive Kitteridge

Book Review

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout.

I've been dragging my feet. And my eyes. And my fingers.

I didn't want to write this review.

I finished the book several weeks ago, but I've had other things to write.

I've had bigger fish to fry.

I've had fences to mend.

I've been traveling like a cat on a hot tin roof.

Okay, enough idioms.

But I do think this is a classic example of procrastination.

I didn't want to write this review.

Can you tell yet that I might not have liked the book?

Olive Kitteridge

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Gluten-Free Birthday Pancakes

Pancakes for Everyone

Pancakes are easy. Right?

Well, I certainly thought so.

I've made them dozens and dozens and dozens of times before.

With gluten. Without gluten. No matter. Making pancakes is making pancakes.

That is, until you delete some sleep, stir with some distractions, and add some pressure.

The Boy wanted a sleepover birthday party with pancakes in the morning.

Sounded simple.

And it should have been. But it didn't quite happen that way.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Glass Castle

Book Review

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls.

I knew I wanted to read this book for quite some time.

But before that, I heard about it from a friend. She said it was disturbing. I wasn't so inclined to want to read it then.

Fast forward a couple of years.

I read the second book from Jeannette Walls. Half Broke Horses.

I loved it.

I told my husband that that book might change my life.

I don't think it has (yet), but anything is possible.


Well, I loved Half Broke Horses so much that I had now made up my mind that I was going to read this book.

My friend warned me again.

"You don't want to read it. It is disturbing. Really disturbing."

I knew it was going to disturb me, but I really wanted to read it now.


Despite being disturbing.

Disturbing or not (and how could you not be disturbed by this book?), this is worth every minute of your time.

The Glass Castle

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Best Chinese Restaurant Ever, with Gluten-Free Sauces!

Welcome Back to Chinese Food!

I cannot, for the life of me, get over how lucky I was.

I was planning to join some colleagues for dinner while traveling for business. A suggestion was made for a local Chinese restaurant that is well renown.

I immediately felt my own internal panic start.

Chinese? Really? Do we have to?

Don't get me wrong. I used to love going out for Chinese food!

But after going gluten-free, that love faded and twisted and sagged into near apathy.

The questions started galloping through my mind.

What hoops would I have to jump through to eat safely and gluten-free?

How much explaining would I have to do?

Will they understand?

Not just no soy sauce. No sauces. No batters. Nothing fried.

Nothing safe?

Not so!
Chef Chu's on Urbanspoon
Chef Chu's in Los Altos, CA knows all about gluten-free Chinese food!

Chef Chu's

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Cider House Rules

Book Review

The Cider House Rules by John Irving.

This book has been around awhile. Since 1985, to be precise.

I've heard references to this book, infrequently, for years. Many years.

I've just never had anything pushing me to pick it up.

All it takes for me is to browse the large print section at the library and not find what I'm looking for.

That's what happened this time. And I needed to get something to read on the treadmill.

I don't remember what I was interested it at the time, but I ended up picking this off of the large print shelf.

Why not?

Never mind that I had no idea what I was getting myself into. This is a frequent occurrence for me. I just usually don't do any research on books before diving in.

I don't know whether that is good or not.

I kind of wonder if I would have read this book if I had known more of what it is about. I'm not sure. It is not exactly thought-provoking or entertaining in the ways I prefer.

The Cider House Rules

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Gluten-Free Beer and I Like It!

Beer on the Holiday

Is there anything more ubiquitous on the Fourth of July than fireworks and beer?

I didn't think so.

But I've never been a fan of beer. I remember it as always being bitter.

I'm not a fan of bitter.

In any form.

Endive or beer. Doesn't matter.

No bitter for me.

Ah... except for maybe chocolate and coffee. Not necessarily together, but sometimes....

Anyways, when I had to become gluten-free, I didn't miss not being able to have beer.

I had never met a beer worth missing. In my book, they had all been bitter.

Granted, my exposure may have been limited.

But no matter. I didn't miss what I couldn't have. At least, not when it came to beer.

Recently, a friend and beer connoisseur and home brewer suggested I try this gluten-free beer.

I admit it. I was skeptical.

I'd never yet met a beer worth pursuing.

Enter Dogfish Head's Tweason'ale Strawberry Gluten-Free Beer.

Dogfish Head Tweason'ale

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Book Review

Unwind by Neal Shusterman.

I'm not sad to discover that my daughter has become a big reader.

She goes to the library with us and brings home stacks of books. Most she reads. Some she doesn't. But she's always got something at hand to read.

And she has told me more than once that the middle school library "doesn't have any of the good books."

I didn't get a very precise definition of "good".

But I love that she is this much into reading. Her own reading. Her own choices.

Not that this doesn't come with it's own caveats, though.

Caveats for a big reader?


She reads so much, I can no longer keep up with knowing what she is reading, nor can I keep up with knowing what is in those books.

They are, for the most part, young adult books. But I don't really know what is in them.

And there is no real way to know what is in them without just reading them.

But I'm pretty busy reading my own books.

Yet, I need to know. I need to know a bit more about the things she is reading.

I read the Hunger Games trilogy. And I liked it. For what it is.

And I read the Twilight series. I can see why so many have loved the series, but I don't put myself into that category.

And now she has recommended this book to me. So, I see this an opportunity to find out a bit more about the things she is reading.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Eating Gluten-Free at Carrabba's

Italian Can be for Everyone

Being gluten-free is most challenging when you don't have control over how the food is made.




Your mother-in-law's house.

Okay, so I can't help you with the last one, but restaurants are coming right along! More and more have gluten-free menus, and many have knowledgable waiters and managers.

But what about Italian restaurants? Pasta, pasta, pasta. Pizza, pizza, pizza. Foccacia. Crostini. Ciabatta.

None of those are gluten-free in their original form. But just because I can't have those things, that doesn't mean I can't enjoy an Italian dinner out with my family.

Carrabba's Italian Grill on UrbanspoonEnter Carrabba's.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Night Circus

Book Review

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

This book was recommended to me by the library's web site.

Have you ever looked at your library's web site? I only started doing so fairly recently.

I found lists of what's new. And, of course, I found out what was on the shelf in my favorite local library.

But I also I found reviews. Like, a review of this book.

It sounded interesting.

And then, some weeks later, I was talking with two of the librarians in my favorite local library.

Do you ever do that? I highly recommend it. Especially when of them tells me that she isn't as well-read as I am.

Really? Is that possible? Me, better read than the librarian?

Maybe. Maybe not. Still, I was quite surprised when she said that. Especially since it is her job to read twenty young adult books in a month and a half. Or so she said.

Anyways, the other librarian suggested this book. I remembered that I had read a review.

It was a positive review.

The Night Circus

Friday, May 25, 2012


Chips, but not the Usual

These are Beanitos.

Not corn chips.

Not tortilla chips.

Not potato chips.

No wheat.

No soy.

No gluten.

These are chips made from beans.

That's right.

Beans. Pinto beans.

And they are delicious!


Monday, May 21, 2012

Inés of My Soul

Book Review

Inés of My Soul by Isabel Allende.

I don't exactly know what originally inspired me to want to read this book.

I kept seeing it on the shelf in the large print section.

Then I saw some other books by Allende in the regular Adult Fiction section.

I read the description on the back cover.

I guess I just was intrigued enough to want to read this.

But I never picked it up.

That is, until after I made plans to go to Chile this summer.

Suddenly, this book had relevance. And it might even be advantageous to read it before I went on my trip.

Yes, now was the time.

I had to find out what I could learn about Chilean history before I visit soon.

Inés of My Soul

Gluten-Free Pizza - Take Two!

Friday Night, Pizza Night

We've never had a tradition of having a particular dinner the same night of the week, every week.

Like Friday nights being Pizza Night.

We've never done that.

But apparently lots of other families do. Like our next door neighbors.

Well, now the kids are asking for it. Asking to do the same.

Of course, for us, pizza isn't as simple as just ordering some for home delivery. I don't know of a place close enough to us that makes gluten-free pizza that will deliver to us.

So, we have to make our own.

And I'm not really sad about that.

I like making fresh pizza. It just takes some planning and a bit of time. Sometimes we have have both planning and time. Lots of times, we don't.

But since the kids were asking, we made plans. Not for every Friday night, but some Friday nights.

And this time, I had a pizza crust recipe waiting to be tried. I'd been wanting to try this new pizza crust for some time, but was really liking the first true gluten-free pizza crust that I fell in love with.

I was still smitten.

I wanted to try a new recipe, but was a bit hesitant. What if it didn't turn out as good as Ol' Trusty Gluten-Free Pizza Crust?

We'll never know if there is something better unless we try something new.

And the time had come.

Pizza with Gluten-Free Crust #2

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Buddha in the Attic

Book Review

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Ostuka.

I had seen this book getting publicity.

I was curious.

But then I discovered the author had written a previous book, When the Emperor was Divine. I wasn't sure if I should be reading that first.

So I did read that first. Just to be safe.

Now, I'm back to wanting to read Ostuka's second book.

And read it, I did.

At least I stuck to my guns and read the first book first.

The Buddha in the Attic

Monday, April 30, 2012

Eating Gluten-Free at The Olive Garden

Not Pasta, but Salad

Several weeks ago, as our visiting family members were heading to the airport, we had the chance for one more lunch with them. The kids were so excited to spend a bit more unexpected time with their cousins!

We had many options for restaurants on the way to the airport, but a few were easier to get to for all of us.

And only a couple of those have gluten-free menus.

The Olive Garden had already been suggested as a good option for the departing family members, so we went for that.

Of course, I quickly looked online to scope out their gluten-free menu. Yep, it was still there.

We had a plan. We had a restaurant where we could meet. We had a place for me to eat gluten-free.

Olive Garden on UrbanspoonSounds like a winner....

Gluten-Free at The Olive Garden

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Scent of Rain and Lightning

Book Review

The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard.

I was prepared not to like this, once I realized that I had started to read it once before.

Some time ago, I borrowed a NOOK from the library. It was preloaded with many books, and I started to browse through them.

I started reading one book and then my son plopped down next to me on the sofa to look over my shoulder.

I panicked!

I was reading the beginning of this book. And the beginning of this book is most decidedly not appropriate for a nine-year-old boy.

Given the situation, I ended up reading The Book Thief on the NOOK instead.

At that time, I had hardly paid much attention to the title of the book I had so hastily navigated away from on the NOOK. But I when started reading this time, I recognized the beginning almost immediately.

And maybe I was predisposed to not like this book.

The Scent of Rain and Lightning

Monday, April 23, 2012

Gluten-Free Monkey Bread

Not Coffeecake

My husband wants coffeecake.

He'd be happy with gluten-free coffeecake, if it was sufficiently indistinguishable from the gluten varieties.

I told him that I haven't seen any recipes for gluten-free coffeecakes. But if he finds one, I will happily make it for him.

Oh, and for the rest of us too!

So, he went looking through all of our gluten-free cookbooks. He looked. He scanned. He searched.

He came back empty-handed.

No gluten-free coffeecakes.

But I can and do make gluten-free Monkey Bread. Not coffeecake, but pretty darn fine, nonetheless.

Gluten-Free Monkey Bread

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Justice Hall

Book Review

Justice Hall by Laurie R. King.

This is the sixth novel in the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series.

This book resumes the timeline where it left off in the fourth book. The fifth book goes back to a time before Mary and Sherlock were married.

Now, jump forward again into the (slightly) more recent timeline. They have just finished up the mystery on the moor. That story references The Hounds of Baskerville a considerable amount.

This story references O Jerusalem a considerable amount. And that is because this story brings back those same characters, but five years later, and with a considerable twist.

Justice Hall

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Trying to Eat Gluten-Free at the National Air and Space Museum

Museums as Bad as Amusement Parks?

We had the pleasure of being tour guides for several days while family visited. We had lots of places to see.

One of those places was the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.

I checked online and saw that the museum does not allow outside food to be brought in.

No food. No beverages, except bottled water.

I had plenty of time to plan ahead and see what my options were for safe food. The museum website informed me that they had food available from both McDonald's and Boston Market.

I've eaten safely before at Boston Market and I know that they publish their gluten-free items online.

I did my research online while still at home. I had a plan. And I was convinced that I would be able to eat safely and easily.

I thought I was ready.

When it was lunchtime, we headed to the food area. I double-checked the mobile website while standing in line.

That's where the trouble began.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Beowulf: Poetry and Graphic Novels

Book Reviews

Beowulf by Seamus Heaney.
Beowulf, Monster Slayer by Paul D. Storrie and Ron Randall (graphic novel).
Beowulf, Graphic Novel by Gareth Hinds.

I've been on a small mission for the last several years.

I want to read literature classics that I didn't get to read in college or high school. I've felt like I've been missing out on something all the the liberal arts majors got. And I did miss out. I was too busy doing my math and sciences.

But now I'm filling in the gaps. I was thrilled when I recently read a book with a reference to Hester Prynne. I now know who she is!

This is actually working!

So, reading Beowulf is just one more step in my self-education of literature classics.


This is the translated version of the original Old English poetry.

We are presented with our hero, Beowulf, as he ventures out to save a neighboring land from a monster's vicious attacks. He then further endears himself to these neighbors as he defeats a second threat. He returns home, rules his land for many, many years, and then faces his final battle against a dragon.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Easter Bunnies

Spring is Here!

We've had the lightest and easiest winter ever for this area. We've been saying "Spring Spring Spring" for months now, when we should have still been locked in winter.

But now it is official.

It is Spring!

Happy Easter!

I have often celebrated Easter with a gluten-free carrot cake. But it has been a few years since I've made Carrot Cake Bunnies.

As soon as the words came out of my mouth suggesting we make these again this year, there was cheering and jumping.

I'll take that as a "Yes, let's make them!"

So, we did. And they are completely gluten-free!

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Monday, April 2, 2012

Gideon's Sword

Book Review

Gideon's Sword by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child.

I had seen these authors on the library shelves before now. I didn't really know a thing about them.

Of course, I guess it is supposed to mean something when you see "#1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling Authors"....

I haven't given much credence to "bestselling" authors producing good books. My standards require more than just selling.

But, since I didn't know much else about these authors, and this was available in large print, it was worth a shot.

A shot of what...

well, that's another story.

It turned out I was impressed alright, but not in a way I want to be again anytime soon.

Gideon's Sword

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Trader Joe's Soft-Baked Snickerdoodles

Allergen-Free Cookies

It's not often you find cookies that are free of the eight common allergens.

No gluten! No wheat! No milk! No dairy! No peanuts! No tree nuts! No eggs! No soy!

What's left, you ask?

Taste and texture, that's what. Glorious taste and wonderful texture!

It's hard to believe that these cookies could be any good, but they are!

I was skeptical at first too. But I'm here to tell you that you don't have to be. I was, I braved it, and I came out the other side believing in these cookies!

Soft-Baked Snickerdoodles

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Book Review

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

From time to time, I am presented with a small novel.

Small, as in not a lot of words.

And several times I have caught myself wondering if small novels can be any good.

I seem to have a short memory.

I was impressed with The Postman Always Rings Twice. I was impressed with When the Emperor was Divine.

I don't know why I still question small novels.

Maybe I have finally learned my lesson.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time